Robert Tabern has been editor of the Inter-County Leader since July 2022.

Raised in the north suburbs of Chicago, Robert discovered a passion for journalism while attending Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, Illinois, writing for the student newspaper and hosting shows on the school’s radio and cable television stations. One of his first jobs was running camera for sporting events at the local cable company.

In 1997, Robert moved to Jonesboro, Arkansas, to attend Arkansas State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism. During college, he worked on-air and behind the scenes at several local radio stations, including KASU-FM, KDRS-AM, and KLQZ-FM. Robert also served as a producer for three years at KAIT-TV, the ABC affiliate serving portions of Northeast Arkansas, Southeast Missouri, and West Tennessee. It was there he covered such events as the Westside Middle School Shooting in March 1998, the tribulations of Y2K, and September 11th.

After college, Robert held various media and communication roles here in the Midwest, including producing and reporting for WKJG-TV (NBC) in Fort Wayne, Indiana, senior news/web producer at WDJT-TV (CBS) in Milwaukee, and assignment editor/travel reporter at WTMJ-TV (NBC) in Milwaukee. Robert also worked in communications for the City of Oak Creek’s police and fire departments. More recently, he served as operations coordinator for a travel company in suburban Milwaukee, and then as a passenger development director at a railroad in Washburn County.

In his spare time, Robert enjoys traveling around the country and the globe. He is also a “national park buff”, and one of just a handful of people who have visited all 425 National Park Service units in the United States. Robert co-founded and currently manages a 501(c)(3) non-profit railroad organization called the Midwest Rail Rangers, which provides historical programs on trains across a seven-state region. Robert has also written and published more than a dozen railroad history books and rail route guides. He also enjoys photography and have had some of his work shown in professional galleries across the United States.

Robert is only the sixth editor in the Inter-County Leader’s 90-year history. He is passionate and committed to covering community festivals, sporting events, government, schools, spot breaking news, and much more. Robert says, “Most of the television news we get here in Barron, Burnett, Polk, and Washburn Counties come from stations between 70 and 100 miles away in many cases. And then, crews only come here when there is something really negative going on. I love Northwest Wisconsin… and want to put a spotlight on the good going on in our towns.”

Robert follows in the footsteps of earlier Inter-County Leader Editors, including Bennie Bye, Romain Brandt, Elmer Haumant, Bernice Asper, and Gary King.

Sarah Beth Radomsky started as a freelance writer for the Leader in June 2022 after walking in and asking if the paper was hiring writers at the prompting of her father to “do something” with her writing talent. She was hired as an official reporter for the paper in August 2022 after “writing too much to be a ‘stringer’” – a term for someone who only writes occasionally. Untrained in traditional journalism, Sarah Beth grew up with a love of creative writing and a passion for learning about the stories of others through biographies and history.

Having grown up in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, Sarah Beth enjoys nature and has developed a passion for the arts and literature from her parents. Her mother was a writer and editor, and her father was an electrical engineer, who also studied the arts. Several supportive teachers also encouraged her to write and develop a passion for history as well.

After moving to Minnesota to attend the University of St. Catherine, she pursued studies that focused heavily on psychology, philosophy, social work, Spanish and the arts, earning a degree in applied ethics, with a minor in social welfare. During that time, she met her husband while also beginning what would start a career in mental health services.

Sarah Beth also went on to start a family, and now has seven children, one with special needs. She and her family moved frequently as independent contractors for eight years, living in the Kansas City area, Colorado Springs, Colorado, and later Central Asia, in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where she learned Russian. She currently farms with her family on 25 acres in the village of Frederic. Sarah Beth has also worked as a mentor in the past, and is also a certified parent peer specialist.

In her spare time, she enjoys photography, especially landscapes involving clouds, farms and nature. You might find her at the beach with her children looking for treasures in the sand or, more likely, reporting on a local event near you with some children in tow, enjoying the activities with them. She also loves her local church community, Crosswalk, and spends a lot of time involved with activities and friends there. Of all the places she and her family have lived, she says country life and living is her favorite, and “This is where it is at.”

Carolyn Curtis started as a reporter for the Inter-County Leader in June 2023. She grew up in Northern Vermont, on the Canadian border, before moving to the Midwest as a young teenager. Carolyn graduated high school in Circle Pines, Minnesota, and stayed in the north metro area for a decade after college. As her immediate family moved back to Vermont, she decided to be closer to them for the next eight years, calling Vermont her home once again. However, eventually her love for the St. Croix River valley and close friendships brought her back to the Midwest in 2021.

In college, Carolyn wanted to major in Meteorology to become a storm chaser, however her career took a different turn when she was asked to become the interim Accountant for a general contractor firm as a young adult. Accounting then became her career path, and she is now a credit analyst for a local bank. She still enjoys a good storm watch, and will actively follow severe weather to attempt to capture a tornado. Now, she gets to help do storm coverage for the Inter-County Leader newspaper!

Her personal interests lie mainly in the outdoors. Her and her daughter enjoy kayaking, hiking, and simply walking and exploring the local communities and attending the local events. Together they enjoy countless adventures and are always up for something different and exciting. Carolyn is also a hobby photographer and enjoys capturing candid photos of live subjects, whether it be people or animals.

Emma Jansen became a part-time news reporter for the Inter-County Leader in August 2023, after completing a three-month internship.

Emma lives in Comstock with her mom, dad, older brother, older sister, and her twin sister. She has two dogs, a German Shepherd named Hazel, and a Shih Zhu named Sophie. She attended Turtle Lake School District until her freshman year when she transferred her studies online at Liberty University. She will graduate in 2024 with her high school diploma along with her associate degree in creative writing. Her future goals include attending college and obtaining her bachelor’s degree in English and Classics before becoming a book editor.

In her free time, Emma enjoys reading, riding motorcycles, flying airplanes, learning new languages, playing the piano, and the violin.

Emma first got into flying when she was 15 years old with her dad, who had previous flying experience and obtained her private pilot’s license in early 2023. She teamed up with Inter-County Leader Editor Robert Tabern to take aerial photos of almost every community in Burnett and Polk County. This led to a contest for several weeks in the newspaper where people won an Inter-County Leader water bottle for correctly guessing the town from 3,000 feet above.

Emma studied abroad in Rome, Italy for three months in early 2023. Downhill skiing, travelling, and baking are a few other things she enjoys doing.

Jeanne Alling is a special correspondent for the Inter-County Leader when it comes to various agriculture events in Polk and Burnett Counties. You can read her “Ag Connection” reports several times per month in the Leader.

Jeanne grew up on a dairy farm near Centuria, and then went on to attend UW-Madison in Dairy Science and the Farm and Industry Sort Course. She also attended UW-River Falls to be certified to teach agricultural education. Jeanne has taught ‘ag ed’ at the Ondossagon, Ashland, Shell Lake, and Unity Schools for over 30 years. She also subbed in ‘ag ed’ at Turtle Lake and Luck Schools.

When not reporting on ‘ag news’ for the Leader, Jeanne is extremely active in the community as a member of the Polk County Agriculture Advocates, Unity Lions Club, Roundabouts HCE Club, Polk County HCE officer, Polk County Fair Board, Turtle Lake FFA Alumni, South Milltown 4H leader, South Milltown Schoolhouse Foundation, Polk County 4H Leaders Federation, Centuria Memory Days committee, Advisor for the Unity Leo’s Club, and lifetime member of National FFA Alumni and Supporters. As Jeanne says, “If it’s for kids, I will support it.”

In her spare time, Jeanne loves to take photos and write, raise a vegetable garden for her family, and sell produce with homemade canned goods at the Balsam Lake Farmers Market. Her husband, Al, supports Jeanne’s community involvement. Her daughters, Johanna and Jena, get involved too with service programs. Jeanne also loves taking care of her grandson, Josiah.

Jeanne says, “Family is important to me, traditions are important, and serving others by writing about area events and people is important to me too. Having people become more ag-literate is my way of advocating agriculture in our community.”

Jeanne has been writing for the Leader for many years, but officially joined our team as a special correspondent with her “Ag Connection” reports in August 2022.

Leader Columnists